The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. In British service, common variants are being operated by both the Royal Navy and British Army to replace their old Lynx rotorcraft. The AW159 has also been offered to several export customers, including the Republic of Korea Navy which placed an order for 8 in 2013. Lynx/Super Lynx thread: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=188
The AW159 Wildcat is the successor to, and a further development of, the Westland Lynx. While the AW159 shares broad similarities in appearance to the Lynx, it has significant design differences and is heavily modernised and adapted to gain new attributes and functionality. The AW159 comprises 95% new components; the remaining 5%, consisting of such items as the fuel system and main rotor gearbox, are interchangeable with the Lynx AH7 and HMA8 variants. The AW159 is the first helicopter by AgustaWestland to be designed inside an entirely digital environment. Among other changes, certain external elements of the Wildcat, such as the tail rotor, have been redesigned for greater durability and stealth qualities.
Both Army and Navy variants are based on a common airframe, which is suitable for marine use and equipped with a wheeled undercarriage. The AW159 is powered by two 1,362 hp (1,016 kW) LHTEC CTS800 turboshaft engines, and has a new composite tailboom, tailplane, tail rotor, nose structure and avionics suite. The naval version is also equipped with a SELEX Galileo Seaspray 7000E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and L-3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/infrared nose turret. In June 2014, the Royal Navy awarded Thales Group a £48 million contract to deliver the Lightweight Multirole Missile (Martlet) for the Wildcat under the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapons Light (FASGW (L)) program for targets such as small boats and fast attack craft. A Wildcat can carry four launchers each with five Martlets. In March 2014 a contract was awarded to MBDA for the Sea Venom (FASGW Heavy) missile for use against vessels and land targets, replacing the Sea Skua. Both missiles are being integrated by AgustaWestland in a single £90m programme by 2018, with IOC for both planned by October 2020.
The AW159 is reported to have significant ISTAR capabilities and improved situational awareness through the onboard integrated digital open systems architecture; it has been equipped with the Bowman communications system, allowing for data such as targeting and voice communications to be securely and seamlessly transmitted to friendly forces. Some AW159 models have been fitted with various General Dynamics-built mission systems, these include secured data recorders and tactical processing systems which integrate sensor data and application information for displaying within the cockpit as well as for retention within encrypted data storage. Other mission systems used on the Wildcat have been produced by BAE Systems
The UK has ordered 34 Wildcats for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy commissioned a Wildcat Fielding Squadron, known as 700W Naval Air Squadron (700W NAS) in 2009. The Army Air Corps also formed the Wildcat Fielding Team. Both units are located at RNAS Yeovilton. In February 2012, a prototype Wildcat (airframe ZZ402) conducted 20 days of trials aboard HMS Iron Duke off the coasts of England and Scotland. The trials were designed to test the helicopter in challenging weather conditions, test its onboard systems and define the Wildcat's ship-helicopter operating limits for when the type enters service in 2015. During the trials, a total of 390 deck landings were completed including 148 night landings, 76 of which being conducted by pilots using night vision goggles.
The first production naval Wildcat was received in May 2013 by 700W NAS; at this point further trials of the type were still being conducted, which included deck landings aboard RFA Mounts Bay. In July 2012, the Wildcat conducted its first public display at the Farnborough Airshow. At the event, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond stated that the "Wildcat represents a considerable advance over the current Lynx helicopters, bringing greatly improved performance and capability."
On 29 August 2014, the Wildcat AH1 formally entered operational service with the Army Air Corps. On 23 March 2015, the Royal Navy's first Wildcat HMA2 began its initial operational deployment at sea onboard the Type 23 frigate, HMS Lancaster.
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat
Crew: 2 pilots
Capacity: 7 passengers, including door gunner
Length: 15.24 m (50 ft 0 in)
Height: 3.73 m (12 ft 3 in)
Max takeoff weight: 6,000 kg (13,228 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshaft, 1,015 kW (1,361 hp) each
Main rotor diameter: 12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
Main rotor area: 128.7 m2 (1,385 sq ft)
Maximum speed: 291 km/h (181 mph; 157 kn)
Range: 777 km (483 mi; 420 nmi)
Ferry range: 963 km (598 mi; 520 nmi)
Endurance: 2 hr 42 min (4 hr 30 min with auxiliary fuel tanks)
Forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns,
Pintle mounted machine gun, e.g. FN MAG (Army) or Browning M2 (Navy).
Air-to-Surface Missile systems:
up to 4x Thales Martlet (Lightweight Multirole Missile), formerly Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Light).
up to 4x MBDA Sea Venom, formerly Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy). Physically similar replacement for the Sea Skua, a combined design with France's Anti-Navire Léger to disable or destroy vessels up to 1000 tonnes.
Sting Ray torpedo and depth charges